books

The Wilkinson Public Library's summer reading challenge runs through July and offers fun for all ages. (Photo by Bria Light/Telluride Daily Planet)

With many of the summer’s festivals and popular events canceled, it’s bound to be a different kind of summer season. Thanks to the Wilkinson Public Library’s (WPL) all-ages summer reading challenge, however, you’re not doomed to sit around watching paint dry. The annual reading challenge, which kicked off June 1 and will run through Harry Potter’s birthday — that’s July 31 for you Muggles — offers an even more ample array of activities and prizes than usual to enhance and incentivize participants’ summer reading journey.

“Our staff is working hard to continue to offer five-star service to our community while our library doors are closed,” said Jill Wilson, WPL public services manager. “This summer program is an easy and fun way to get folks involved in reading and participating in a variety of interactive summer activities, whether it be through Zoom, in a park outside or in your own home.”

This year’s summer reading challenge, called Camp Telluride, offers programs for all ages, including babies and toddlers, kids, teens and adults, with reading and activities tracked through an easy-to-use online platform or app. “Campers” can earn virtual tickets by reading books (or listening to audiobooks) and participating in a variety of activities across categories such as arts and crafts, civics, cooking and baking, music, and play. Participating in additional library programs like fitness classes, writing workshops and social events, whether virtually or in places like Town Park, also advance participants towards winning prizes, as does writing reviews of books read.

Kids can earn $5 and $10 gift cards to shops and restaurants around Telluride such as Brown Dog, Steamies, Zia Sun and the Coffee Cowboy, among others; the grown-ups earn tickets that enter a raffle for $50 and $100 gift cards to Between the Covers, Ghost Town, Coffee Cowboy, High Alpine Coffee, the Phoenix Bean, the Telluride Music Company, Ah Haa School for the Arts, Boot Doctors and Telluride Outside, with the raffle taking place in early August.

As part of the kids’ summer reading challenge, free weekly activity kits will be available for pick-up on Mondays, with age-appropriate, hands-on activities complete with the necessary supplies for babies and toddlers, kids and teens.

“Each week there is a different theme for the activity kits,” said Erin Hollingsworth, youth services manager. “This week was gardening, with seeds and seed pots that kids could plant. Next week is photography, with a photo scavenger hunt and Sunprint paper. There will be a baking week with cake mix, which I'm really excited about.”

Summer reading can provide vivid armchair adventures for readers of all ages, but is especially advantageous for kids who are out of school for the summer months.

“Reading can help prevent the ‘summer slide’ — the learning loss that occurs over summer break,” said Hollingsworth. “Reading throughout the summer can help students stay on top of their reading skills so they are ready for school in the fall. Plus, reading a good book over summer break, when you can stay up late reading or read outside in the sunshine, is the best!”

In addition to the summer reading challenge, WPL is offering upcoming virtual events, including Coffee and Conversation, Zoom Booze and Books, a writing workshop series with former San Miguel County poet laureate Elissa Dickson, Mandolin 101 with Hank Shell, and making macrame plant hangers. Additional services have also been added to serve the senior community, including home delivery and personalized assistance on everything from book recommendations to Zoom help. Some programs require sign-up. For more information on programs and services, and to register for the summer reading challenge, visit telluridelibrary.org.